Scots job market strongest in eight months

Permanent staff appointments in Scotland continued to rise during January — with the latest surge the sharpest seen for eight months — according to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs.

However, the report said candidate availability “continued to deteriorate markedly” and permanent starters’ pay rose at a much quicker pace. 

“Permanent staff appointments continued to rise during January, with the latest uptick the sharpest seen for eight months and solid overall,” said the report.

“The trend in Scotland was mirrored at the UK level, where permanent placements also rose at a faster rate than December.

“Nonetheless, the increase in Scotland outpaced that seen across the UK as a whole …

“As has been the case in each month since October 2010, recruitment agencies across Scotland signalled an increase in the number of permanent vacancies during January.

“The rise was the sharpest since last August and solid overall …

“Demand and supply imbalances continued to push up pay in January, as salaries awarded to permanent new starters increased at the quickest rate for three months.”

Meanwhile, temp billings fell for the second month running, with the pace of decline the sharpest since October 2016.

Sebastian Burnside, Chief Economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “January data signalled a further increase in permanent staff appointments in Scotland, providing a positive sign for the Scottish labour market at the start of 2020.

“Moreover, the latest increase was the sharpest for eight months and solid overall, with recruitment firms indicating that demand for staff had improved following December’s general election. 

“Firms’ preference towards short-term staff appears to be fading, however, as temp billings declined for the second month in a row, and at the quickest pace since October 2016.

“However, tightness in the Scottish labour market remained apparent as candidate availability continued to deteriorate, with the declines in Scotland outstripping the falls recorded at the UK level for both permanent and temporary staff.”